This news release originally appeared on the Government of Saskatchewan website.
Saskatchewan's leadership in rare earth elements (REE) production, research and education will debut today in Saskatoon as private and public sector collaborate to showcase three significant initiatives that are attracting international attention.
The Rare Earth Summit will focus on sites in the city's north industrial end, where Vital Metals Ltd. will unveil Phase One of its Rare Earth Extraction Facility, alongside the Saskatchewan Research Council's (SRC) $55 million vertically integrated Rare Earth Processing Facility that will include processing, separation and metals stages - a first-of-its-kind in North America. Industry leaders from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce's Critical Minerals Council will meet in-person to discuss growing and securing ethically sourced responsible supply chains of critical minerals.
Saskatchewan, with its excellent workforce, environmental protection, intermodal transportation and energy infrastructure, respected education facilities and an established mineral processing culture and infrastructure and low cost of living make it an ideal location to create a centre of REE excellence within North American and international reach. Initially, the province will see an estimated 100+ new jobs created between the Vital and SRC projects.
Global industries ranging from electric vehicles, wind turbines, energy efficient air conditioners and elevators, mobile phones, LEDs, to medical, defense and communications are increasingly reliant on reliable, affordable and responsibly sourced rare earths that are essential to today's fast-growing technologies. Canada has declared that securing supply chains of REEs, along with 30 other critical minerals is in the national interest.
"I am extremely pleased that SRC is not only meeting, but exceeding, the Saskatchewan Growth Plan goal of being the first North American processing facility to deliver individual, high purity REEs and now magnet metals," Minister Responsible for SRC Jeremy Harrison said. "Building a rare earth hub and the much-needed supply chains required to meet net zero goals in Canada and around the world will need to be a collaborative effort - one that is being showcased through this Summit."
"The world is watching us," Vital Metals Ltd. and Cheetah Resources Corp Vice-President of Strategy and Corporate Affairs David Connelly said. "We are Canada's first rare earths miner and producer. Our teams at the Nechalacho rare earth project in the Northwest Territories, and here at Vital Metals' Rare Earth Extraction Facility in Saskatoon, are the cornerstones of an independent mine-to-motor supply chain. We're intensely proud to be here in Saskatoon, along with SRC and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, to share our story with you."
"Canada has the potential to be a world leader in supplying the critical minerals market," Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Perrin Beatty said. "Critical minerals are essential in the production of consumer goods, industrial applications as well as green infrastructure vital to the transition to a low carbon economy. Showcasing Saskatchewan as the continental hub for value-added rare-earth products sends a message - that Canada can provide global markets with the essential building blocks for a low-carbon future. Projects like this will enable us to move beyond mining and capture the mid and downstream processing and manufacturing value chains."